More than half of Canadian drivers drive with at least one tire improperly inflated, according to Transport Canada, which could lead to a dangerous situation such as skidding, hydroplaning or losing control of the vehicle.

Most cars made after 2007 have tire pressure sensors that can help monitor the issue. But many people who have the safety feature don’t know what it is or how it works.

"Over 600 people die every year due to underinflated tires causing their vehicle to lose control, basically a catastrophic blowout," said Trevor Potter, vice president of Schrader International, the leading manufacturer of tire pressure sensors.

The sensors need to be serviced every time the wheel is removed and replaced entirely after five to seven years when their batteries die.

Underinflated tires also cause your vehicle to suck up a lot of gas. Over 640 million litres of extra fuel are consumed by Canadian vehicles every year because of underinflated tires, which adds up fast.

"In the course of a year, the average Canadian driving 22,000 kilometres, that's $100 dollars a year. That's basically two weeks of free driving by maintaining proper tire pressure," said Rene Pellerin of Kal Tire.

That's enough money saved to buy a new set of tires over the average nine year life of your vehicle.

Not having the right air pressure in your tires will also reduce your estimated tire life by about 15,000 kilometres.  If you're not sure what the tire pressure should be, there's a sticker on the inside of your driver's side door frame. 

The experts recommend you:

  • manually check your tire pressure at least once a month or before a long road trip.
  • check your tire pressure beforeyou drive when the tire is cold to get the most accurate reading
  • get the garage to service your existing tire pressure monitors, or have new ones installed, when you buy new wheels or have winter tires installed

Tire sensors were first installed in 2007 so many of those first generation sensors on the road are nearing the end of their battery life and need to be replaced.